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Scientists in Australia Find Some Mammals and Marsupials Glow Under UV Light

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The previous work done on biofluorescence on other species indicates that it is an ancient form of camouflage.

Latest tests conducted by scientists in Australia show marsupials and mammals can glow under UV light.

It was earlier unknown that fluorescence occurred in Australian mammals. Earlier, it was also known that biofluorescence occurred in some insects and sea creatures and more recently in platypus.

Australian scientists are working to confirm the findings of biofluorescence found in animals.

They are also looking to confirm the reason why this fluorescence is occurring, reported ABC News.

Kenny Travouillon, curator of mammalogy and palaeontologist at the Western Australian Museum, said he heard about the article published in the US and took UV light from the arachnology department.

He said that they turned off the lights in the collection of the museum and checked what was glowing and not glowing.

He said, “The first one we checked was the platypus obviously.”

When they turned the light to other specimens in their collection, marsupial moles and wombat started glowing as well.

However, the carnivorous marsupial did not glow under UV light.

As per Kenny, it makes sense that they don’t glow because if the prey of the carnivorous marsupial sees them in the light then those marsupials will not be able to hide from its prey.

Sarah Munks from Australia’s University of Tasmania was initially sceptical because the sample size of three platypuses which were preserved in a drawer in the Northern Hemisphere for decades is not enough for the scientists to confirm that glowing fur is endemic to platypuses. She works at the School of Natural Sciences.

The American researcher from Center for Science and the Environment, Northland College, Paula Anich, who is the co-author of the paper on biofluorescent platypus hopes that the release of her paper would bring in Australian platypus experts to explore the ultraviolet lights in platypus.

As per Dr Sarah, the previous work done on biofluorescence on other species indicates that it is an ancient form of camouflage. Kenny says that the benefit of this was that the biofluorescent animals can see their species from a distance and know that it is safe to go towards them.


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